Vito Žuraj (* 7. Mai in Maribor, Slowenien) ist ein slowenischer Komponist. Inhaltsverzeichnis. 1 Leben; 2 Werke (Auswahl); 3 Weblinks; 4 Einzelnachweise. Vito Žuraj studierte Komposition in Ljubljana, Dresden und bei Wolfgang Rihm an der Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe. Hier schloss er zudem einen Master of. Insideout für zwei Vokalsolisten und Ensemble zu „Connection“ von Manfred Wakolbinger. Vito Zuraj – Foto: Tomo Brejc. Vito Žuraj (*) studierte Komposition.
Ausgezeichnet: Vito ŽurajDer Vito Žuraj entwickelt neue Musik programmatorisch mit spiereischer Leichtigkeit. Vito Žuraj, geb. in Maribor (Slowenien), studierte Komposition bei Marko Mihevc (Ljubljana), Lothar Voigtländer (Dresden) und Wolfgang Rihm (Karlsruhe). "This was not simple tone painting. A squiggly sculpture, like Manfred Wakolbinger's "Connection", elicited twinkling, clicking and clacking from Vito Zuraj, not.
Vito Zuraj Navigationsmenü VideoVito Žuraj - Moonballs (2015)
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Navigation menu Personal tools Not logged in Talk Contributions Create account Log in. Namespaces Article Talk. The Ensemble Modern also featured a retrospective program of his work in — one of two concerts showcasing his work at the Elbphilharmonie in spring , as the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester also gave the world premiere of his composition Stand up.
The Klangforum Wien took his composition Fired-up on tour to Milan, Paris and Vienna. The partially staged composition Insideout was premiered by the Scharoun Ensemble directed by Matthias Pintscher at the Salzburg Festival in , reprised by the New York Philharmonic in and the Ensemble intercontemporain in In addition, the Philharmonia Orchestra premiered the English version of his farce Ubuquity for soprano and ensemble in April Porcelain bells and wind chimes were created in collaboration with the manufacturer in Meissen for the performance.
In he was a recipient of fellowships from the Villa Massimo in Rome, the Academy of Arts in Berlin and the ZKM Karlsruhe.
At the start of he was appointed by Prof. A CD showcasing his work was also released by Wergo as part of the contemporary music edition of the German Music Council.
This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions or additions, unless expressly authorised by the artist management. Vito Zuraj is not very well known in France, which is a great shame.
Whilst the musical duties were shared equally, the ensembles took it in turns to begin, as per tennis service. The off-stage orchestra began in the heavens, with the angelic sound of harp and cymbals.
The vocal line reflects the heartfelt text with an impassioned ebb and flow reminiscent of operatic writing in the first half of the twentieth century.
TANGO for flute and orchestra Duration: 6 min First performance: 12th June , Ljubljana Slovenian Philharmonics Orchestra Matej Grahek, flute Conductor: George Pehlivanian.
See work description of TANGO for flute and piano. Instrumentation: 2 2. Burlesque is a light-hearted concert overture predominantly in triplet metre.
With dashes of the early Stravinsky of Fireworks and Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice, it makes for a suave and entertaining ten minutes.
Already in evidence are Zuraj's predilection for tone colours based on percussion, with prominent accents provided by c-trumpets and piccolo.
The prevailing carnival atmosphere as contrasted with a misterioso middle section which provides an inkling of the highly individual and inventive timbres that Zuraj was to conjure up in his output over the ensuing decades.
TORKLJA, symphonic overture Torklja, a concert overture based on the story of a witch from Slovenian folklore, is Zuraj's first large-scale orchestral work.
A colourful work showing an early mastery of timbres in orchestral tutti, it reveals an affinity with the orchestral textures of composers as diverse as Rimsky-Korsakov and the early Schoenberg.
After a mysterious opening with high trills in the violins and interplay between celesta and piccolo, it erupts into an extended and tumultuous orchestral tutti, culminating in soli for trombone, underscored by thundering chords in the strings.
The celesta and the trills return, this time in the clarinets, and a haunting violin melody soars over shimmering, impressionistic harmonies. After an extended period of calm, a crescendo leads to an outbreak of urgent triplet rhythms in the strings, with the trills taking on a sinister tone.
Menacing figures in the trombones carry the work uneasily forward and the work rushes to a calamitous conclusion. Instrumentation: 1 d.
BOOK OF BODIES for soprano and chamber string orchestra Text and concept: Patrick Hahn Instrumentation: 1 d. Text and concept: Alexander Stockinger French translation of libretto: Bernard Banoun Instrumentation: 1 d.
See work description of ÜBÜRALL. MOONBALLS for woodwind quintet and ensemble Instrumentation: 1. First performance: 25th October Festival Slowind Slowind Woodwind Quintet Ensemble Contrechamps Conductor: Michael Wendeberg.
Instrumentation: 0. First performance: 26th April Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik Österreichisches Ensemble für neue Musik Conductor: Johannes Kalitzke.
RUNAROUND for four brass soloists and instrumental groups Instrumentation: 1 picc 2:bcl -1 cfg 1perc Duration: 15 min.
First performance: 3rd December Auditorium Parco della Musica Roma, Sala Santa Cecilia Ensemble Modern Conductor: Franck Ollu.
The piece Runaround is composed for instrumental groups which are dispersed throughout the entire concert hall. Four brass soloists play from the stage, with the percussionist being placed behind them, accompanied by the five more instrumental groups - each consisting of a woodwind and a string player - situated around the audience.
The piece could be described as a kind of rhapsody where the soloists are brought into various contexts with the accompanying groups.
In the beginning of the piece the soloists are exposed one by one and subsequently exchange short figures with the groups around the audience, creating vortex-like moments.
After a brief intermezzo by ensemble the soloists introduce a section based almost entirely on natural harmonics. Overtone glissandos by brass are performed in various speed ratios, confronted with the imitation of same structures played time-stretched by the ensemble which subsequently make a smooth transition to the following section, build on pointillistic principles.
The four soloists basically merge into a single four-lipped player, performing a mosaic-like structured interweaving of multiple staccato lines.
Suddenly the listener is thrown onto a different planet with a delusive fairy tale environment. Out of nowhere sounds of duduk and shakuhachi emerge.
The interaction between the soloists and ensemble seems to be transformed into a slowly pulsating atmosphere.
That intransparent liquid surface becomes clear after the groups start sharing pendulum-like impulses which make a transition to the finale.
A walking bass suggests the upcoming contact between the existing and unexpected. The soloists seem to play jazz on their mouthpieces only, accompanied by a space consisting of harmonic impulses by the instrumental groups.
After a dense culmination there follows a cut whereupon only a soft walking bass and the buzzing lips of the soloists are audible.
And why does the piece end like that? Once I heard the brass quartet of Ensemble Modern recording the variations on "Let's call this" arranged by one of their trumpet players, Valentin Garvie.
Their improvisation abilities made a great impression on me and I decided to melt their creative skills with my compositional structures.
Over the walking bass I wrote four lines of rhythmic material for playing on mouthpieces only and drew approximate pitch contours in order to leave room for interpretation to the brass players.
The element of walking bass remains active until the end of the piece and varies form the double bass original over the lowest trumpet register to the tutti of low instruments.
In order to achieve a pulsating musical form I decided to interrupt the walking bass flow occasionally. Therefor I was looking for a contrasting rhythmical element which has a strong historical reference.
In one of my previous pieces I composed a kind of a "broken waltz" and in Runaround it seemed appropriate for me to insert the waltz gesture in order to break the repetitive rhythmic structure of a walking bass.
OVERHEAD for string ensemble First performance: 30th September National Gallery of Slovenia, Ljubljana Slovene Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra.
Overhead is a ten-minute work for string chamber orchestra. As with the other additions to Zuraj's canon in recent years, it focuses especially on the percussive capabilities of that family of instruments.
Aside from the usual array of imaginative pizzicato effects, pencils are struck gently against the strings to produce droplets of sound that are at once surprisingly voluminous and highly precise, and each player is furnished with a sounding bowl from a bell tree , with the deepest instruments taking the highest-pitched bowls, the highest instruments taking the deepest.
For almost a full minute at the beginning, the only bowed sound to be heard is a muted violin, directed to sound like a mosquito in flight.
When "conventional" string playing enters, this also heralds a change in the texture; the previously scattered impulses disappear with the upper strings suddenly falling into lock-step in a fortissimo rhythmic unison, tracing an upward line that accelerates and converges into a cluster, while the lower strings continue a pizzicato crusade beneath.
This interplay continues in various guises throughout the work, with the lower strings often presenting an independent sound colour and texture, while periods of comparative rhythmic "chaos" alternate with strict rhythmic unisons.
The sounding bowls first appear almost a third of the way through the work, and quickly become the dominant voice, as the string playing vanishes entirely.
The sounding bowls are subjected to a range of different playing techniques, ranging from sustained ringing to dry, muffled attacks - a timbral "scale" roughly analogous to the string effects, which range from pizzicato via col legno with the wood of the bow or a pencil to short, bowed impulses and rarely strings of legato notes.
The sounding bowls dominate for some time, being increasingly complemented by different types of glissando. The final third of the work sees string playing and the sounding bowls "fighting it out" for the upper hand, with the latter eventually winning, although the last laugh is afforded the double bass, strumming a single, resonant pizzicato over all four strings, which slowly vanishes in a long glissando upwards from the depths.
ÜBÜRALL, farces for soprano and instrumental groups Text and concept: Alexander Stockinger Instrumentation: 1 picc,bass - 1 cing, lupo - 2 1.
TSax,Tubax-B; 2. First performance: 21st November cresc Übürall is a semi-theatrical work for ensemble and soprano, taking its inspiration the character of Ubu Roi from the proto-modernistic play by the French symbolist author and dramatist Alfred Jarry.
The work is "compered" by the soprano, who represents the figure of Madame Ubu, commenting on five "basic human behavioural patterns" reminiscent of the seven deadly sins: self-pity, egomania, carnality, cowardice and brutality.
The libretto is presented in a mishmash of languages, an affectation particularly in vogue in Germany's contemporary avant garde music theatre. Both text and music are sprinkled with quotations, a reference to the composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann's highly-regarded work Musique pour les soupers du Roi Ubu, which is essentially a collage of quotations from works from the classical repertoire.
In Übürall, however, the quotations are more subtle and not integral to the overall form and texture of the work. For Übürall, the ensemble is distributed on stage and throughout the auditorium in such a way as to surround the audience, enabling the sound to rotate around the listener.
Constructed from Zuraj's trademark repertoire of gestures constructed from swarms of individual notes and percussive effects, Übürall turns the concert hall into a refined and complex instrument in contrast to the uncouth brutality of the text.
The pointillistic gestures of the individual ensembles merge in the auditorium to create the impression of a continuous sound that shifts its position and weighting from one part of the hall to another.
Hearing individual notes from different directions enables the listener to perceive the lush, microtonal harmonies with added clarity and transparency.
Instrumentation: 1 picc cfg 1perc pno Duration: 10 min. Zuraj writes of Fired Up, "One of the foremost images in my mind while writing Fired Up was the idea of friction as a means of igniting something, which I envisaged not chiefly in terms of starting a fire, but as the "ignition" of a chain of complex, interconnected musical structures in which each sparks off the next.
I have observed examples of friction in various aspects of sound sculpting, such as narrow intervals, combination tones, overlapping rhythmic patterns, multiphonics and the physical act of producing sound.
What is striking is not so much that the stones are used, but how they are employed. At the very opening of the piece, the sound of several pairs of stones being rubbed together emerges from toneless blowing through the wind instruments.
This builds to a crescendo, with one pair after the other transitioning to being struck together. Sparing use of percussion instruments adds an extra dimension to the stones' chatter.
When at last the first clear, sustained pitches ring out from the crotales, it appears to emerge entirely organically from the sound of the stones themselves.
Percussive strumming of the strings, each with a plectrum, also seems to be an extension of the harmonic spectrum of the stones. Indeed, it is a long time before the ensemble emerges out fully from the chatter of the stones, and when it does, the sound still seems to be informed chiefly by the timbre of the stones, dominated by the secco strumming of the strings and splintered figures in the wind instruments.
Alongside this, Zuraj's trademark use of extreme registers - often simultaneously - and rapid chromatic figurations puts a clear personal stamp on the work.
INSIDEOUT for soprano, baritone and ensemble Text and concept: Alexander Stockinger Instrumentation: cfg 2perc arp pno Duration: 12 min.
First performance: 24th August Salzburger Festspiele, Mozarteum Scharoun Ensemble Berlin Mojca Erdmann - soprano; Dietrich Henschel - baritone Conductor: Matthias Pintscher.
Insideout is a semi-theatrical work presenting a potentially never-ending cycle of a man and a woman falling in love, out of love and in love again.
Initially hopelessly enamoured of each other, they are torn apart, as first she rejects him, then he learns to reject her even as her love for him is rekindled.
The different characters of the two protagonists are presented contrastingly both in their language and in their singing style, he being slow and deliberate, she rapid and imaginative.
The work is structured in an instrumental introduction and three principal sections: the lovers' first encounter, a love scene, the lovers' estrangement.
The vocal style is carefully conceived with a view to clarity and intelligibility, although this is employed in diverse ways.
In the first section, the lovers sing over each other and at cross purposes, the text being understandable in snippets. The love scene is a true love duet, with lines repeated and the two lovers singing simultaneously but with bold gestures at a tempo that speaks clearly and directly.
The final section incorporates considerable spoken passages and a more matter-of fact, conversational style. There follows a brief instrumental postlude.
The handling of the instrumental ensemble throughout is highly coloristic and expressive - almost orchestral, without ever attempting to overshadow the signers.
Instrumentation: 1 picc,bass - 1 cing - 2 1. First performance: 18th January Frankfurter Positionen , Frankfurt LAB Ensemble Modern Conductor: Kasper de Roo.
In the years following his studies with Wolfgang Rihm in Karlsruhe, Zuraj developed an increasingly complex and nuanced system for computer-aided composition, in which the more mundane work of testing structural models for chords, rhythms and textures is simplified by generating large numbers of possible realisations algorithmically, after which the composer analyses the results, chooses the most appropriate elements - possibly undertaking his own alterations as necessary in accordance with his musical aesthetic - and sculpts the resulting material into a finished form.
A comparison might be made with writing an historical or science fiction novel. Large amounts of research may be undertaken via the internet and in libraries, sources analysed and compared, existing data and academic opinions noted, but all of this pertains directly to an initial idea originating from the author, while the form, language and presentation of the finished result are all expressions of that author's highly personal aesthetic.
Of course, as with any compositional technique, this use of tools to calculate the minutiae of a composition can be employed in a wide range of compositional processes.
For the highly expressive and energetically charged quality of Zuraj's composition, the analogy with a novelist is appropriate.
For others, the process of composition might be more akin to the meticulous and unforgiving planning of an architect, or reflect the restrictions placed on a sculptor by their chosen material.
An artist is not defined by their tools, but by the choice of these tools and the decisions they make in using them.
Restrung is an especially complex and refined example of this compositional technique. The large ensemble is fashioned into a mighty yet subtle string instrument, "restrung" in an infinitely complex tuning system.
Zuraj's trademark glissandi and percussive effects involving tapping, plucking and strumming the strings are extended through the use of a clavichord, a 'cimbalo cromatico' a harpsichord tuned microtonally and Zuraj's signature use of a quarter-tone kalimba.
Further extensions to the timbre are provided by a significant battery of percussion, and sounding bowls played by the string and wind players. The clavichord provides an important link between string instruments and percussion, being the only acoustic keyboard instrument capable of bending its pitch to create vibrato and glissandi.
No work composed for the Ensemble Modern would be complete without making use of the sterling capabilities of their woodwind and brass players, and these instruments are used here to provide sustained and occasionally melodic extension of the percussive string and keyboard textures - a curious reversal of the traditional roles in a symphony orchestra.
RE-SLIDE for trombone solo and ensemble Instrumentation: 1 picc, alto - 1 cing - 1 bcl-B 1 cfg 1. First performance: 29th June Konservatorium Bern Members of Camerata Bern, students of Hochschule der Kuünste Bern Mayumi Shimizu, trombone solo Conductor: Michael Wendeberg.
Re-slide is the fifteenth in Vito Zuraj's cycle of compositions with tennis-themed titles. In this case, "slide" has the double meaning of a trombone's slide and a tennis player's slipping and losing balance.
An ambitious work for solo trombone and large ensemble, it is a concerto in all but name. Indeed, the degree of prominence afforded the trombone in this work is rare even in Zuraj's works that are explicitly designated as concerti.
The dominance of the trombone is not immediately apparent, however. The work opens with precisely the sort of arresting timbral mixture on which Zuraj's music thrives; the trombone, replete with wah-wah mute, holds sustained notes, ghosted at close intervals and rhythmic unison by a bowed vibraphone.
This unlikely lyrical duo is supplied with a running commentary by the piano, which takes on the role of a percussion instrument, hammering regular interjections aggressively on its heavily dampened deeper strings.
Presently, however, the trombone detaches itself from its partners and embarks on an array of bold virtuoso gestures.
The essence of the solo trombone part in this piece is the use of the overtone row that forms the basis of its tuning.
By emphasising the overtone row, Zuraj effectively turns the trombone into an infinite number of "natural" brass instruments, with a new "instrument" being created every time the trombonist moves the slide.
The quarter-tone kalimba, a feature in much of Zuraj's work of this period, provides a bridge between the microtonal tunings of the trombone and the evenly tempered semitones of the piano and the rest of the percussion.
Lending weight to the concerto character is the use of full ensemble tutti to accompany the trombone, tutti in which the entire ensemble unites in common gestures.
There are even extended passages - especially for the strings - in which the typical dovetailing of complex rhythms and gestures is suddenly abandoned in favour of a rhythmic unison across the entire ensemble.
The ensemble settles into two opposing rhythmic "camps", the strings on the one hand and the winds on the other - the fact that the trombone sides with the strings emphasises the independence of its tone colour, before the work reaches a climax in which the entire ensemble proceeds in a shattering rhythmic unison.
Soon, the ensemble splinters again, although the tutti character remains for a time, eventually dispersing, before the work peters out into a questioning conclusion.
First performance: 24th September Royaumont - Voix Nouvelles concert series, France Ensemble Recherche Conductor: Geoffroy Jourdain.
The ensemble composition Framed represents a continuation of Zuraj's series of compositions with titles drawn from tennis terminology.
The title Framed refers to the game of tennis as well as to the placement of the ensemble. In tennis terminology a ball is "framed" when it is accidentally hit with the frame of the racquet.
Once that happens the player no longer has control over the trajectory of the ball, while their opponent has not a clue as to what direction the ball might bounce on their own side of the net.
A framed ball usually flies directly off court where it is caught by a lucky spectator. In Framed, the woodwinds and strings - placed as a sort of frame around the audience - play the spectators' role.
Framed features a highly distinctive use of the ensemble, with tutti passages in which the ensemble is treated almost as a single instrument, highly exposed soli for single instruments with minimal accompaniment, and very little in between.
Often, the tutti passages involve the instruments tonelessly blowing, clicking and stroking to provide a varied texture of pure noise.
The work is dominated at its opening by the spring drums, the work's first solo. For a few minutes, the ensemble ebbs and flows with little directly comprehensible structure until a low C crystallises in the contrabass clarinet.
There follow extensive soli for the piano and the violin. The piano plays an altogether unusual role in Framed, generally being treated as a percussion instrument or as a high-pitched melody instrument.
Not once is it used for a full texture, multiple voices or chordal punctuation. NET CORD for string ensemble First performance: 3nd October Festival Unicum, Ljubljana, Slovenia Slovenian Philharmonics, Kozina Hall, Ljubljana KOS Ensemble Conductor, Marko Hribernik.
Net Cord is something of an oddity within Zuraj's series of pieces with titles pertaining to tennis nomenclature, being scored for an ensemble consisting entirely of strings, rather than the sort of mixed ensemble normally preferred by the composer.
A " dead net cord" is the description for a fortuitous point, scored when one player's shot takes the upper edge of the net and bobbles over to the opposing side, leaving that player's adversary no chance of reaching the ball before it bounces twice in their own half.
A decet consisting of six violins, two violas and one each of the violoncello and double bass, Net Cord counters the conventional uniformity of its instrumentation by eschewing the sorts of timbres and gestures normally associated with string ensembles.
It is fully two minutes before a bowed note is heard, and even then, the foray into the voluptuous sound of the string ensemble is brief, with col legno with the wood of the bow and other non-standard tone colours soon taking the foreground.
Not that Net Cord is a self-consciously negative piece of music, trying to avoid all traditionally musical flow or association; it is simply that, with the asynchronous pizzicato glissandi that start and end the piece and the disjointed gestures in between, it aims to create musical contexts that, while accessible in themselves, are not generally considered native to the ensemble in question.
First performance: 27th September HfMDK Frankfurt am Main, Germany International Ensemble Modern Academy. CourtNr2 is a further work in Zuraj's cycle of tennis-related compositions.
Scored for large ensemble, it is a work that develops in largely subdued tones, with Zuraj's unmistakable glissando and scurrying textures slithering around in an almost constant undertone.
Those instruments that can be muted almost always are, with the strings using particularly heavy, metal mutes, and the brass a variety.
In the early stages of the work, the French horn plays a dominant role, adding a sharp profile to the sinuous, heterophonic lines of the ensemble.
Later, an extended solo for the violin, barely audible at the uppermost extreme of its range, ushers in a new sound-world, in which the ensemble is joined by a throat singer.
The throat singing adds a new dimension, as though the fundamental sound were suddenly revealed, to which the music had previously simply been overtones.
The throat-singer, however, is not a soloist, merely a momentary colour which is used sparingly and presently withdraws entirely, allowing the subterranean virtuosity of the instruments to flit and flicker to its conclusion.
DROPSHOT for two French horns and ensemble Instrumentation: 2 cor solo 2nd change to Wagnertuba , fl picc , cl bcl , tr, 2vno, vc, 2perc, 2pno.
First performance: 9th March HfMDK Frankfurt am Main, Germany Saar Berger and Sharon Polyak, French horns International Ensemble Modern Academy.
With Dropshot, Zuraj continues his extensive cycle of compositions with titles lifted from the tennis manual. In tennis, a "drop shot" is a relatively light shot that bounces approximately one metre over the net and then ideally changes direction owing to the spin imparted upon the ball when it was struck.
A drop shot typically alters the dynamics of play, since the opponent is forced to leave their default position at the base line and make a spirited dash towards the net.
Following on from the chamber works Deuce and Crosscourt, Dropshot is the first work to take the form of a concerto. A concertino for two French horns and a mixed ensemble of ten musicians, Dropshot opens in the grand tradition of concerti with an "orchestral" tutti introduction, in which all of the instruments except the two soloists are present.
This introduction begins almost imperceptibly in the instruments' highest registers, and descends with increasing rapidity and a powerful crescendo to announce the entry of the soloists with a bang.
These then indulge in a bold and glittering double cadenza, underscored by sparing accompaniment from the ensemble. Although the soloists parts are both fiendishly difficult, the challenges faced by the instruments in the accompanying ensemble are not overshadowed easily.
The first solo horn player also plays for an extended period on the Wagner tuba, the French horn's somewhat deeper and darker cousin.
The work ends as imperceptibly as it had begun, with horn glissandi fading into thin air and a subtle percussion gesture. First performance: 16th May Festival Uncum City Museum Ljubljana, Slovenia Cantus Ensemble Conductor: Berislav Sipus.
Quadriptich is a pivotal work in Zuraj's oeuvre. A substantial work for ten players lasting over twenty minutes, it represents a "taking stock" at the end of the composer's years spent under the tutelage of Wolfgang Rihm.
Each four movements, which proceed in a single unbroken chain from start to finish, is in fact a re-instrumentation of an earlier ensemble composition composed towards the end of Zuraj's time under Rihm.
The movements, in order, are: I. Relief, II. Octet, III. Nachspiel zum Lied "Letzte Hoffnung" aus Franz Schubert's Winterreise, IV.
The solo part in Relief is distributed imaginatively across the instruments of the ensemble. That these works are able to be brought together in this way with minimal linkage has to do with the clear and distinctive compositional language Zuraj had developed up to that point, and which is common to all of them.
The biting wit and instrumental mastery already present in his early works is complemented by the structural stringency honed in works such as In medias res for orchestra.
First performance: 1st September International Takefu Festival, Japan Echizen-shi Bunka Center, Takefu Next Mushroom Promotion Ensemble, Duo Caput Toshiya Suzuki, recorder Conductor: Ken-chi Nakagawa.
Reflections boasts one of the most unconventional ensembles in Zuraj's entire output. The recorder and the harpsichord, both inherently quiet instruments, join with the loud violin and cello and the even louder flute and clarinet.
Reflections exploits wide range of gestures, from the splintered and isolated fragments of its beginning to the rapidly flowing rhythms of its middle section and the slow, glacial chords at its end.
In the two years leading up to its composition, Zuraj devoted much of his compositional efforts to experimentation, with each new work exploring a particular new frontier for the composer.
His first serious forays into the quarter-tone harmony and computer-generated note-structures that were to dominate his work for the next several years were undertaken during that period, and Reflections is the first work to integrate large numbers of those elements into a single composition.
In its more animated passages, it reveals a particular affinity to the rapid figurations employed in the work Perpetuum for organ and electronics.
First performance: 29th June Nachtklänge, Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Insel, Germany Members of Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe Conductor: Ulrich Wagner.
Scored for six reed instruments and two French horns, Octet is a short work which, unusually for Zuraj, is dominated by a single motif, a legato line that zigzags downwards from a sustained high note, accelerating as it falls.
The motif is announced in almost classical fashion in a unison incorporating the five uppermost reed instruments, settling on a sustained low note in the contrabassoon and French horns.
From that point, the instruments progressively branch out from each other, diverging from the initial unison to create increasingly independent textures.
This process is complemented by the emergence of quarter-tone harmonies, which are paradoxically quite unconventional in larger woodwind groups, but also conducive to singularly rounded, organic-sounding harmonic timbres.
At the close of the piece, the initial motif returns, this time with chords in rhythmic unison. After three, insistent reiterations of this motif, the piece concludes with two tender, sustained quarter-tone sonorities.
RELIEF for tenor saxophone and ensemble First performance: 3rd February ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany Ensemble for new music at the HfM Karlsruhe Marcus Weiss, Tenor Saxophone Conductor: Gerard Buquet.
Relief is an immensely virtuosic work for ensemble, a semi-concertant piece in which the saxophone versions also exist for flute and clarinet plays the dual role of soloist and ensemble member.
It opens with a staccato chords in irregular rhythms played by the entire ensemble. The different qualities of these chords are brought about as much by the changing registration as the changing notes for example, the trumpet may be the uppermost instrument in one chord, but below violin, saxophone and French horn in the next.
Only gradually do the instruments take on independent roles, with the soloist continuing the irregular rhythms of the opening, while other instruments accompany with a mixture of sustained notes, glissandi and staccato figures.
The extended first section culminates in a torrent of legato cascades in the ensemble, over which the soloist hovers with sustained notes in its highest register.
There follows a lull, in which the ensemble restricts itself to pointillistic interjections by individual instruments, while the soloist engages in a subterranean yet frenzied cadenza of key clicks, only intermittently bursting above the surface with the instrument's normal timbre.
Presently, even these die away, and all that remains is a collection of disparate gestures in a static and slightly unnerving texture that Zuraj was to employ so effectively in the ensemble work Reflections, composed shortly after.
This lull is brought to an abrupt halt by a return to the tutti chords from the opening, this time in a massive sostenuto, rather than the delicate staccato of the opening.
The work's final section centres around an expressive cadenza for the soloist, accompanied in the manner of a recitative, after which the Relief quickly dies down to an understated conclusion.
NACHSPIEL ZUR LETZTEN HOFFNUNG for ensemble First performance: 27th May Kulturjahr der Zehn, closing concert Berliner Philharmonie, Kammersaal, Berlin, Germany Lepzig Sinfonietta Conductor: Johannes Harneit.
The Nachspiel zum Lied "Letzte Hoffnung" aus Schuberts Winterreise "Postlude to the song 'Final Hope' from Schubert's Winterreise was written to mark the admission of Slovenia, among other eastern European countries, into the European Union.
The direct allusion to Letzte Hoffnung is apparent from the very first bars, with a disjointed figure in the winds reflecting both rhythm and contour of the similarly forlorn opening piano motif in Schubert's song, despite the entirely different intervals involved.
A further parallel is to be found in the undulating back and forth between two notes a minor third apart, which is omnipresent in both works.
More direct quotations or at least near quotations are to be found, with the oboe recalling a snatch of melodic line just before a tutti outburst which forms the loudest point in the piece - directly analogous to an outburst following the same motif in Schubert's song.
Further melodic fragments, for instance in the horn and towards the end in the bass clarinet, seem to be direct references to Letzte Hoffnung, but always just elude full recognition.
Instrumentation: cl, cor, 1perc, 2vni, vla, vc, cb Duration: 15 min First performance: 26th September , Maribor Chamberensemble Musical September Conductor: Arvid Engegard Other performances: Dresden 23rd January Kontra features the French horn and the clarinet as soloists over an ensemble of percussion and string quintet.
The work opens quietly with veiled tremoli in the tam-tam, which is soon joined by the double bass, the lowest register of the French horn and the cello.
Presently, he upper strings enter, starting in the stratosphere and gradually descending over the course of two minutes to join the lower instruments.